Original Name: Golden Poppy Official Number: 226687 Radio Call Letters: WH7379 Built: Alameda, CA 1927. Length: 239' 11" Beam:60' 3" Draft: 11'
Auto Deck Clearance: 12' 6" Speed:10 knots Horsepower:1,200 Propulsion: Diesel Electric (DC) Autos: 50 Passengers:400 Gross Tonnage: 779
Name Translation: Named for a friendly Native American cheif in what is now Port Townsend
FINAL DISPOSITION: Sank under tow to California off the Washington Coast, 31 May 1977
| Arriving on Puget Sound on 26 May, 1938 was the Golden Poppy. One of four near sister ferries recently put out of work on San Francisco Bay, Black Ball sent the all-wood ferry into the yard at Eagle Harbor.
Reconditioned, repainted and renamed, the ferry emerged with the name Chetzemoka. As the name was honoring a friendly Native American chief in the Port Townsend area, it was only fitting that Black Ball sent her to work on the Port Townsend-Edmonds run.
From 1938 until 1947 the Chetzy as her name was often shortened to, worked the Port Townsend route until she was moved over the Columbia Beach-Mukilteo run. She stayed on the route as the main ferry until WSF took over ferry operations.
In 1954, the Chetzemoka lost her status as the number one vessel on the Mkilteo route when the recently acquired Olympic was moved to the route. The paring of the two vessels lasted seven years until the Rhododendron was added to the route, sending the Chetzemoka to reserve status. She then only worked on weekends and as supplemental service during the summers.
In 1962 the Chetzemoka became the only "Wood Electric Class" to work in the San Juan Islands. For the summers of 1962-64 , t the vessel sailed the Anacortes-San Juan Islands route.. In the fall of 1965 she was moved back to the Mukilteo run for extra service. From then on out she divided her time between the Mukilteo-Clinton route and the Kingston-Edmonds route, helping out on weekends with the traffic overflow.
Her last season came in 1973, when she worked as the "Sunday Only" ferry on the Vashon route. On Labor Day of 1973, she made her last run. The cost of hull caulking, keeping the dryrot at bay and her minimal car capacity spelled her end. She was sold in 1975 for $16,000.00 to a California investor who planned to give the Chetzemoka her old name and turn her into a shopping center moored along the San Francisco waterfront.
Under tow to California in heavy seas in the spring of 1977, the Chetzemoka's hull sprung a leak. The pumps were unable to keep up, and after several hours the ferry slipped beneath the waves. She lies there still, 9 miles off the coast near La Push, in 235 feet of water.
|At work for the Southern Pacific-Golden Gate Ferry company, the Golden Poppy would work much longer on Puget Sound. Author's collection. Looking rather plain in Black Ball livery, the Chetzemoka complete another run. Author's collection.|
|The Chetzemoka looked particularly sharp in WSF livery. Author's collection. Sunset Magazine misidentifies two ferries in this caption. While it is the Chetzemoka leaving Orcas, it appears the deck the photographer is standing on is wooden, making it the Vashon, while the vessel approaching at left is most assuredly a Steel Electric--likely the Klickitat. Author's collection.|
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